Nearly 10 inches of snow did little to stop officials at the Youngstown Business Incubator from welcoming members of the community to their facility on West Federal Street for an update on their operations and a tour of the campus.
On Thursday, the YBI participated in the second annual Y-Town Tech Tour, designed to introduce the city’s rapidly growing technology-career opportunities and research efforts to visitors.
The incubator finds itself at the center of those efforts, with connections to thousands of individuals and major companies around the world, while also hosting some of Youngstown’s most-successful information- technology businesses.
“When you look at the way the downtown has developed, technology is in many ways at the heart of Youngstown’s resurgence,” said Barb Ewing, chief operations officer at the incubator.
In the past five years, YBI clients have created 469 new jobs with an average wage of $52,800 and attracted $52 million in capital investments to their operations.
Started in 1995 as a mixed-use incubator, YBI switched in 2000 to deal exclusively with blossoming information- technology companies, which are quicker to take to market and require lower operational overhead.
With an $825,000 annual budget, the nonprofit leases office space at a reduced rate and provides mentoring and coaching services to its members.
Unlike a conventional incubator, YBI does not graduate businesses; instead, it keeps them on in a managed cluster that helps foster a supportive and collaborative climate among the junior- and senior-level companies in its fold.
In 2012, the more than 15 companies it services have combined to create or sustain 610 jobs in Northeast Ohio, while adding $76 million in sales across the region, according to a study by Cleveland-based Kleinhenz & Associates.